Trash Free Lunch Marathon celebrates America Recycles Day

Nationally, the month of November has been dedicated to the America Recycles campaign, which is supported by the National Recycling Coalition and sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; in particular, November 15 is America Recycles Day. The Lauralton Hall Environmental Club has commemorated this special time for the past ten years by hosting an event that involves a commitment to reduce, reuse, recycle, and to buy products made from recycled or sustainable materials.

This year, the club celebrated once again with its eighth annual trash-free-lunch marathon. During the three days of trash-free lunch, from November 14 to 16, students and faculty brought trash-free lunches to school in order to enter a drawing for raffle prizes. They received a separate raffle ticket for each of the following: a reusable sandwich container, a cloth napkin, permanent lunch box, flatware, and a permanent water bottle.

Environmental Club members generously donated approximately 80 prizes, so there were many chances for participants to win. Prizes included unique bags made from a variety of sustainable materials. For example, Megan Fickes ’14, club president, donated a bag woven from magazines that she acquired on her trip to Nicaragua last year. Officers also donated Blue Q zippered accessory bags made from recycled plastic, and club moderator Donna DiMassa donated a bag made from the vinyl used to make billboard signs. In addition, there was a wide array of permanent water bottles, mugs, and tumblers with positive reinforcement messages; for example, Shannon Buttling ’16 donated a “Do the Reuse” mug, and Caroline McCauley ’13 donated a “Fill, Drink, Wash, Repeat” tumbler.

Thrilled to win an over-sized ceramic travel mug, Georgia Patrick, ’14, exclaimed, “Now I can have coffee in the morning and chai tea at lunch. I love this mug!”

Alex Torres ’13 donated the mug that Georgia won; Alex knows how great the mug is because she has one of her own. Alex was pleased that it was such a beloved prize: “Georgia stopped me in the hall to tell me how much she likes the mug! I’m glad she’s going green with my mug.”

Members also donated reusable lunch bags, organic snacks, sustainable school supplies and cruelty-free health and beauty aids. Maria Zdrodowska ’14, Devon Valera ’15, Alana Masciana ’16, Meghan Warren ’16 donated bobble-filter water bottles with filters built into the tops of the reusable bottle. Meghan Hazzard ’14 donated a nifty collapsible eco-lunch box.

“When members purchase prizes, they look for the following: fair-trade, shade-grown, organic, cruelty-free, vegan, and sustainable,” Mrs. DiMassa stated.

Meghan Dougherty ’15 donated Pilot ink pens called B2P, which stands for Bottle to Pen. The pens are made from recycled water bottles. Julia Spillane ’16 donated a notebook made from banana peels; another popular notebook that is a favorite prize is made from sugar cane stalks left over after harvesting sugar cane. Sarah Foley ’13 and Olivia Kaufman ’15 both donated beauty products from Lush wrapped in cloth scarves – along with the scarves were diagrams of the many ways to use the scarves.

In addition, the following seniors contributed prizes: Emma Catalfamo, Cameron Gerrity, Abbey Maloney, and Elle Mancini. Also, the following juniors donated prizes: Megan Collins, Emily Dunleavy, Veronica Harris, Emma McCarthy, Emily Menendez, Rebecca Moore, and Kasey Ryan. Next, sophomores were very generous with prizes: Christina Augusztin, Lianne Bisch, Marissa Browne Marissa Favano, Chrissy Garvey, Chrissy Heisler, Amy Izzo, Olivia Maffai, Elizabeth Martinez, Emily Meyer, Devon Valera, and Jess Vanam, and Shannon Wade. Finally, freshmen contributors were Jenna Ball, Colleen Bradley, Shannon Buttling, Emily Collins, Erin McCann, and Mary McCullen. 

Club officers Megan Fickes ’14, Liza Leonard ’13, Ann Marie Guzzi ’14, Taylor Whittaker ’14, and Aubrey Lowe ’14 not only donated prizes, but they organized this annual event. Ann Marie is one of the “mega-donors who donated water bottles, a mug, Burt's Bees and other cosmetics.”

Two years ago, club members came up with the idea to have a grand prize in order to motivate students to be trash-free for all three days; this year’s grand prize was an Alex and Ani Tree of Life bracelet donated by sisters Caroline ’15 and Kacie ’13 Rogers and their mother Denise Rogers. The winner of the grand prize is Cat Priolet ’13.

The entire point of the trash-free lunch marathon is to get students to think about the choices that they make everyday: a reusable container or a disposable plastic bag, a plastic water bottle or a permanent water bottle. Americans represent only five percent of the world’s population, but they generate thirty percent of the world’s garbage – it’s time to make that lunch trash free!


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